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The trucking and transportation industries enjoyed a major milestone Friday in Ft. Collins, Colorado, with the deployment of the world’s first self-driving work zone impact protection vehicle.
Royal Truck and Equipment’s Autonomous Impact Protection Vehicle (AIPV), which was purchased by the Colorado Department of Transportation, is designed to follow a lead vehicle and features impact attenuators (oversized rear bumpers) engineered to absorb the impact of wayward vehicles that otherwise may strike road workers.
Between 2000 and 2014, Colorado experienced 21,898 crashes and 171 fatalities in work zones. According to the Federal Highway Administration, in work zones in 2015, there was a crash every 5.4 minutes, 70 crash-related injuries every day, and 12 crash-related fatalities every week.
Royal, the nation’s largest manufacturer of truck-mounted attenuators, developed its AIPV with Micro Systems, a subsidiary of Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, and Colas, a U.K.-based transportation R&D firm.
In case you missed the livestream event of the autonomous truck’s first drive for CDOT, you can watch it in action below.